Navigating trust and truth as an independent podcaster

Journalistic integrity matters—even if you’re not part of a news outlet

COVID-19 confusion and competing realities over election results have pushed trust in traditional media to an all-time low, according to Edelman’s 2021 Trust Barometer. Trust in print and broadcast media fell eight points from 2020, and more Americans now say that journalists are deliberately trying to mislead the public rather than provide legitimate factual information.

Luckily, you do not need to be a professional journalist to take advantage of the resources that are available to reporters and editors. The Society of Professional Journalists’ (SPJ) very short and readable Code of Ethics has several points that can be useful for both podcast producers and consumers, with sections on seeking truth, minimizing harm, acting independently, and being transparent.

One of the most salient points to podcasting is not to misrepresent, oversimplify, or otherwise overpromise a story for the sake of promotion or entertainment. Creating a misleading episode title or using audio to bend the truth for the sake of downloads is not far removed from writing a misleading headline or misrepresenting sources to gain attention on a news story.

Rhysider is particularly aware of this dynamic in his work and chooses his words carefully when it comes to reporting on sensitive topics or places where his reporting is not 100-percent definitive.“One of the tricks I use is that if there’s something I’m not sure of, I have [...]

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